united students against sweatshops

Affiliate your campus organization with USAS today!

In order to vote or run in the coming elections you must be at a USAS affiliated school. Affiliation means that your campus group will have four votes in each election (four for regional rep. and four for the general elections), it also means that your campus contacts will receive resources from the national office (information on trainings, staff etc.)

Here are the ridiculously easy steps to affiliation.

1. The Principles of Unity (adapted from discussions at the conference) are below. Print them out or e-mail them to members of your campus org.

2. Discuss with your organization and agree as a group to work with the Principles of Unity.

This last bit will enable USAS-ers to get a hold of one another and have each others contact info. Please indicate if you do not want this info posted widely.

And poof. You're affiliated.

Well done. Now Vote!

The principles of unity below have been drafted as an assessment of the spirit and of the issues which bring students on campuses across North America together to create a united youth front against sweatshops. Hopefully, these principles touch on the underlying consciousness we are all developing, within ourselves as individuals and within our collectives, whether they be local, regional, national, or international.

The abuse of sweatshop labor is among the most blatant examples of the excesses and exploitation of the global economy. We recognize, however, that the sweatshop is not limited to the apparel industry as traditionally conceived, sweatshop conditions exist in the fields, in the prisons, on our campuses, in the power relations of a flawed system.

Thus, we consider all struggles against the systemic problems of the global economy to be directly or by analogy a struggle against sweatshops. Whether a campus group focuses its energies on the apparel industry or on another form of sweatshop agreement with the principles below will be used as the sole requisite for working under the name of United Students Against Sweatshops.

The Principles

1. We work in solidarity with working people's struggles. In order to best accomplish this and in recognition of the interconnections between local and global struggles, we strive to build relationships with other progressive movements and cooperate in coalition with other groups struggling for justice within all communities campus, local, regional, and international.

2. We struggle against racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and other forms of oppression within our society, within our organizations, and within ourselves. Not only are we collectively confronting these prejudices as inherent defects of the global economy which creates sweatshops, but we also recognize the need for individuals to confront the prejudices they have internalized as the result of living and learning in a flawed and oppressive society.

3. We are working in coalition to build a grassroots student movement that challenges corporate power and that fights for economic justice. This coalition is loosely defined, thus we strive to act in coordination with one another to mobilize resources and build a national network while also reserving the autonomy of individuals and campuses. We do not impose a single ideological position, practice, or approach; rather, we aim to support one another in a spirit of respect for difference, shared purpose, and hope.

4. We strive to act democratically. With the understanding that we live and learn in a state of imperfect government, we attempt to achieve truer democracy in making decisions which affect our collective work. Furthermore, we strive to empower one another as individuals and as a collective through trust, patience, and an open spirit.

The power of these principles to unify us as United Students Against Sweatshops ultimately rests with the individual. Self-evaluation and personal responsibility are critical to the effectiveness of our work we all must continue to struggle as individuals in order to struggle in concert, thus we strive for compassion and support for one another as we continue this endeavor together.


^Of course, there is no way to monitor how the name of United Students Against Sweatshops is used we can only hope that folks who fight the fight would agree with these basic tenets and strive toward fulfilling them in every facet of their work.

These principles are not an original creation---many pieces are borrowed from other organizations as well as from mission statements of some local groups who work with USAS. (our thanks)